It’s summer, are you taking a REAL break?
A REAL BREAK includes time for rest, rejuvenation and reflection.
Last month I decided I would take the 1st week of July off from my business and be in vacation mode. I did step away from my business but most of the week was spent cleaning, unpacking, organizing and running errands to get our new home set up. It was exciting and necessary, but NOT exactly a time of rest, rejuvenation and reflection.
By Saturday I felt depleted (tired, short-tempered, frazzled) so I stayed home while the boys went on a bike trip. I was intentional with my time alone. I used it to do some yoga, journal, and read. I still felt compelled to be productive so I organized my closet but it felt joyful because I was listening to podcasts.
I enjoyed my time alone with zero guilt. I know that taking this time isn’t selfish or indulgent because it fills my cup. When my cup is full it overflows and makes me a more present and giving partner, parent, friend and coach.
How do you know it’s time for a break from productivity mode?
I know I need a break when I feel tired, overwhelmed, unfocused and anxious.
Our North American culture is centered on, DOING, PRODUCING and PROVING our worth. It can feel scary to slow down or take a break because we fear we’ll get left behind, replaced or be judged as lazy.
There is a crazy statistic about how much vacation time goes unused every year because people BELIEVE they can’t schedule time away from work.
I mean you’re busy and tired most days but isn’t everyone? It’s the price we pay for being productive, right?
What if there are more serious warning signs that burnout is imminent that you aren’t aware of?
Are you ignoring these signs and just chalking them up to a bad week, month or even a year?
How can we identify our unique signs of stress before we reach the point of burnout or breakdown?
These are all questions we need to answer for ourselves.
The Enneagram offers a framework to show us how each type typically expresses their stress. There is some overlap between types but a definite pattern emerges.
Many of the warning signs of excessive stress are sneaky and can look like fear, anger and sadness.
The first step is always AWARENESS so let’s shine a light on each type’s typical warning signs of stress overload. Remember that you have access to all 9 types but you lead with one dominant type. The following list only illustrates each type’s tendency so it won’t reflect all aspects of your past behavior.
WARNING SIGNS OF EXCESSIVE STRESS of the 9 Types
- The REFORMER – resentment, self-justification, blaming others, tension, tightness
- The HELPER – demanding, blaming, intense emotional outbursts, crying
- The ACHIEVER – impatience, irritability, over-committed, overworking
- The INDIVIDUALIST – envy, comparison, fiery outbursts, tears, depression
- The OBSERVER – withdrawing, withholding, disapproval, tension
- The LOYALIST – defensive lashing out, biting remarks, sarcasm, excessive worry
- The ENTHUSIAST – acting superior, negatively judging others, becoming over scheduled, repeating the same mistakes
- The CHALLENGER – attention on revenge, inflexible, my way or the highway thinking
- The PEACEMAKER – passive aggression, stubbornness, large burst of anger (rarely)
What are your warning signs that you’re no longer managing your stress well? What thoughts and emotions come up? What physical symptoms show up in your body?
We need to slow down and check-in with ourselves regularly so we don’t miss the warning signs and experience burnout and illness.
When you become aware of your stress patterns you can shift your focus to your favourite coping strategies. Connecting with a mental health professional or an experienced coach depending on the severity of your distress and symptoms is a fantastic idea.
You weren’t designed to cope with stress alone. We all need support and deserve compassion.
We are stronger and more resilient together.
I have more to share on how to navigate STRESS using the ENNEAGRAM so I’m creating a series. WARNING SIGNS of STRESS was part 1 and the following posts will be about what causes each Enneagram type stress, coping strategies and how we can best support each type on our growth journey.
Wishing you ease, joy and freedom!
Life Design Coach and Enneagram Teacher